So, R.A. Dickey is unhappy. Frankly, I don’t blame him. He’s blatantly being taken advantage of by the Mets in these contract negotiations, and not being treated with the respect he wanted. Due to their second extension offer still being not what the knuckler has requested, it seems as though they’d rather trade Dickey than hold onto him. With the three-team trade going down last night, the likelihood of the Rangers acquiring Justin Upton isn’t very good, meaning they could bring their focus back to Dickey. Since Texas probably won’t want to give New York the package of Mike Olt and other highly touted prospects, how about a proven commodity in Ian Kinsler?
Texas is looking to change their identity moving into 2013. Trading away long-time Ranger Michael Young has facilitated some of their future moves, like bringing back Josh Hamilton and another outfielder (not named Justin Upton), and possibly moving Nelson Cruz to DH. Also, with Elvis Andrus holding a strong grip at the shortstop position, top prospect Jurickson Profarmay be moving to second base, where Kinsler has been playing since 2006. To make room for Profar in the Majors, the Rangers may be asking their incumbent second baseman to make the move over to first base, which he is reportedly not happy about, but is willing to do if it’s in the best interest of the team. I saw someone mention a potential deal for Kinsler over the weekend on Twitter, and I’m starting to think it could be a great idea (although I doubt there is any chance).
Sep 25, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler (5) bats during the game against the Oakland Athletics at Rangers Ballpark. Oakland won 3-2. . Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Kinsler is coming off his third All-Star selection in 2012, but it was a down year overall for him, as he put together a .256/.326/.423 line with 19 homers, 72 RBI, and 105 runs scored in 157 games played. He doesn’t play the outfield, but he could provide everything the Mets need right now. Throughout his career, Kinsler has averaged 25 homers, 81 RBI, and 115 runs scored while predominantly hitting out of the lead-off spot. His batting average has dipped into the .250-range the last two seasons, but he has potential to be a .270-.280 hitter, and he historically gets on base 35% of the time. The 30-year-old is signed through 2017 as part of a 10-year/$96.5 million deal, including a team option for 2018, which is quite the bargain.
I know Kinsler is entering his 30s, but it’s hard to find a second baseman that can hit like he can from the right side. With Profar making his way into the Big Leagues and Kinsler having a down year in 2012 (by his standards), I would ask Texas about trading him straight up for Dickey since his price may be low. Instead of getting highly touted prospects that could crash and burn, the Mets would get a proven Major Leaguer that will be more productive for the team in the immediate and short-term future, looking at the 2014-2016 seasons.
He doesn’t have a whole lot of speed, but has stolen 20+ bases five times, is a right-handed power hitter (five 15+ HR seasons), he knows how to hit in the lead-off position, and has plenty of post-season experience. What is most attractive to me is that he doesn’t strike out a lot despite his power. In his seven Big League seasons, he’s never struck out more than 100 times, with 90 K’s in 2012 being his highest total. So, this is a player that can hit the long ball, get on base, and consistently put the ball in play in the top spot.
If the Mets did pull off such a trade, what would they do with Daniel Murphy? Well, since he’s now had extensive experience at first, second, and third base, he could become their supersub, backing up Kinsler (I wish), David Wright, and Ike Davis at their respective positions. However, what I would like more is to flip Murph to another team in a trade for another bat, whether it be an outfielder or a catcher. Maybe the Blue Jays would take Murph as a new option at second base for someone like J.P. Arencibia at catcher or an outfielder like Rajai Davis or Colby Rasmus. Or, the Mets could put together a package of players that would tempt Toronto to trade players like Arencibia and Davis to Flushing, which would give New York a quicker option in the lead-off spot, allowing Kinsler to move into the middle of the order to protect Ike and Wright. And let’s not forget, the Oakland A’s have a surplus of outfielders, and Sandy has a good relationship with GM Billy Beane.
I know the likeliness of his happening is just about zero, but this is at least some kind of roster turnover. There are still a couple months until Pitchers and Catchers report, but it doesn’t look like we’ll be seeing much action by the front office, if any at all. What do you think Sandy should do to stay true to his word and bring in the productive players he was talking about in August?